The Graphic Design curriculum gets you thinking from the micro to the macro levels, about craft and concept, and combines physical making with digital skills to help you grow your unique voice as a designer. You'll find you have plenty of options to tailor your experience.

  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
ID Course Title Credit Req
Liberal Arts (6 cr. required)
LA122  Writing in Context 3
LA225  Perspectives on Society & Culture 3
Art History (6 cr. required)
AH125  Exploring Visual Culture 3
AH210  Intro to World Art History 3
Studio Courses (3 cr. required)
Studio Elective 3
Seminar (1 cr. required)
FD100  First Year Seminar* 1
Foundation Studio (15 cr. required)
FD101  Visual Elements: 2D 3
FD102  Visual Elements: Digital Tools 3
FD105  Drawing 1 3
FD111  3D Design 3
FD112  Time Arts 3
At the completion of First Year: 31 cr. earned to date 31

*FD100 First Year Seminar is required of all freshman with fewer than 30 transfer credits.

ID Course Title Credit Req
Art History (3 cr. required)
AH213  History of Design Arts 3
Liberal Arts (9 cr. required)
LA225  Perspectives on Society & Culture 3
MTH101 Math or SCI223 Science 3
MTH101 Math or SCI223 Science 3
Studio Courses (18 cr. required)
GD241  Design I: Signs and Symbols. 3
GD242  Design Studio I: Psychology of Seeing 3
GD245  Typography I 3
GD246  Typography II 3
GD247  Production 3
GD251  Fundamentals of Interactive Media 3
At the completion of Second Year: 61 cr. earned to date 61

ID Course Title Credit Req
Art History (3 cr. required)
Art History 200/300-level 3
Liberal Arts (9 cr. required)
LA321  Social Science Seminar 3
LA325  Literature Seminar 3
Liberal Arts 300/400-level elective 3
Studio Courses (18 required cr.)
GD341  Design Studio II: Audience and Culture 3
GD342  Design Studio II: Rhetoric and Persuasion 3
GD351  Motion Graphics 3
GD344  Marketing & Branding 3
Studio Elective from suggested menu of courses below* 3
Studio Elective 3
At the completion of Third Year: 91 cr. earned to date 91

*Suggested menu of courses:

GD350 Interface & Structure; PH272 Concept / Capture / Print I; AA231 Begin Animated Arts; VID211 Begin Video; VID212 Begin Sound; Printmaking: Screen/Relief, Letterpress/Book Arts, Intaglio/Litho; IL354 Design & Image, IL252 Visual Techniques, IL254 or IL256 Digital Media Strategies, IL257 Children’s Book Illustration, IL351 Visual Vocabulary; additional GD441 GD Internship, PH-273 Studio Lighting Essentials, PR-282 Screenprint and Lithography, PR-288 Textile Relief and Screenprint, PR-286 Letterpress + Book, GD-310 Graphic Design Special Topics (any section).

ID Course Title Credit Req
Art History (3 cr. required)
Art History 300/400-level 3
Liberal Arts (6 cr. required)
Liberal Arts 300/400-level elective 3
LA421  Research for Creative Practice 3
Studio Courses (12 required cr.)
GD443  Graphic Design Advanced Studio I 3
GD444  Graphic Design Advanced Studio II 3
Studio Elective 3
Studio Elective 3
Thesis (9 cr. required)
TH453  Thesis Development (Semester 1) 3
GD 445 Center for Design or ND 301 Internship 3
TH499  Thesis (Semester 2) 3
At the completion of Fourth Year: 121 cr. earned to date 121

Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate fluency in the technical, formal, and conceptual choices and methodologies used to solve a variety of creative briefs and communication challenges, both pre-determined and self-defined.

Apply research and critical analysis to create compelling visual communication, with an understanding of how design solutions communicate with clients, audience(s), and subcultures.

Actively and continuously seek to understand, question, and redefine the role of design in starting conversations, making connections, and guiding us as active participants in our communities.

Demonstrate best professional practices including self-aware communication, presentation, organizational skills, time management, empathy, thoughtful risk-taking, and an understanding of impact.


Foundation Year

A time to explore

In your Foundation Year, you’ll be immersed from day one in media and making of all kinds from drawing, design, and sculpture, to digital tools, motion, and performance. It’s a year of discovery: a time to explore new ways of thinking and making, meet new friends, and get to know your new community.

Foundation Year


Preparing for graduation

Your senior year is an exciting time of transition from student to working artist and designer. The focus of your senior year is conceiving a thesis project of your own design and producing it with the support of faculty, your peers, and a mentor who works with you one-on-one.

Senior Thesis

Areas of Study

Freedom to focus

PNCA offers ten undergraduate majors, all of which offer you choices in your electives and liberal arts courses. This means that whatever your major, you have the freedom to focus many of your course choices around your particular area of interest. We've outlined the following Areas of Study to give you a sense of the scope of courses available at PNCA.

Areas of Study

Liberal Arts

Fortify your intellectual foundation

Liberal Arts courses round out your education, helping you become a more thoughtful, well-rounded artist and designer. Explore widely or select your courses to focus on one of what we call Areas of Study.

Liberal Arts

Come tour PNCA today!

Come explore and experience how PNCA is dedicated to empowering students to reimagine what art and design can do in the world.